The official NHVR logo on a light-blue background.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is an Australian government body responsible for regulating the heavy vehicle industry across most states and territories in Australia. The NHVR was implemented in 2013 as a result of an agreement between the Australian Commonwealth and state and territory governments.

The NHVR’s regulatory framework applies to a wide range of heavy vehicles which have over 4.5 tonnes of GVM. Some of these include:


    • Trucks (prime movers, rigid trucks and articulated trucks used for transporting goods)
    • Buses (including coaches and other large passenger vehicles)
    • B-doubles and road trains (configurations of multiple trailers attached to a single prime mover)
    • Heavy trailers (trailers used for transporting goods, machinery or other equipment with significant weight and size).

Why are the NHVR Regulations Needed?

A core aim of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is to improve safety within the heavy vehicle industry. By establishing and enforcing national standards and regulations, the NHVR reduces the risk of accidents and injuries involving heavy vehicles.

In addition to creating a safer operating environment, the regulations also create trust and accountability within the industry.

Which States and Territories Does NHVR Apply to?

The NHVR applies to the following states in Australia:

    • Queensland
    • New South Wales
    • Victoria
    • South Australia
    • Tasmania
    • Australian Capital Territory.

As of 2024, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have chosen not to participate in the National Heavy Vehicle Regulatory scheme. Instead, these two regions have their own regulatory frameworks governing heavy vehicles.

In Western Australia, heavy vehicle regulation is overseen by the Department of Transport, while in the Northern Territory, it is managed by the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics.

NHVR Permits

Whether you need a permit for your heavy vehicle depends on various factors, including its dimensions, weight and intended use. Generally, heavy vehicles fall into two categories: General Access Vehicles and Restricted Access Vehicles.

General Access Vehicles (GAV)

General Access Vehicles are those that meet standard size and weight limits prescribed by regulations and are permitted to travel on most public roads without the need for additional permits. These vehicles typically conform to standard dimensions and weight restrictions to ensure compatibility with road infrastructure and safety requirements. Examples of general access vehicles include:


    • Rigid trucks. These are trucks with a single rigid chassis and typically consist of a cab for the driver and a load-carrying area at the rear.
    • Semi-trailers. Semi-trailers consist of a tractor unit (prime mover) and a trailer that is connected but not permanently fixed. They are commonly used for transporting goods over long distances.
    • Buses. Buses used for public transport or commercial purposes generally fall within standard size and weight limits and are considered general access vehicles.

Restricted Access Vehicles (RAV)

Restricted Access Vehicles are those that exceed standard size or weight limits and require special permits to operate on public roads. These vehicles may have additional dimensions or configurations that require careful planning and consideration to ensure safe and lawful movement. Examples of restricted access vehicles include:


    • Oversize loads. Vehicles carrying loads that exceed standard dimensions (such as wide or tall machinery, equipment or structures) require permits for oversize loads.
    • Overweight loads. Vehicles carrying loads that exceed standard weight limits, such as heavy machinery or construction materials, require permits.

Which Permit Do I Need?

The permit you are issued depends on the heavy vehicle class in which you are operating, and the jurisdiction in which you are travelling.

Class 1 Permit

The Class 1 Permit covers Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV), Agricultural Vehicles (AG) and those classed as Oversize Overmass (OSOM). The permits apply to vehicles that do not meet the standard mass, dimension or operational requirements outlined in a Gazette Notice*).  It covers vehicles that are either coming off networks covered by the relevant notice or simply do not comply with the stated requirements.

*a Gazette is an official publication issued by the government that contains important announcements, regulations and other official information. It is specifically used by the government to share legal and administrative notices with the public.

Class 2 Permit

    • B-doubles and road trains. These large vehicles require a Class 2 Permit to travel on a road outside of the approved B-double or Road Train network.
    • Performance-Based Standards. A permit is required for travel on or off the PBS network if the vehicle does not comply with mass, dimension or operating requirements set out in a Gazette Notice.
    • Controlled access bus. This applies to travel on or off a road outside of the approved controlled access bus network.

Class 3 Permit

    • Tow truck. This permit category is designated for tow trucks that do not comply with mass or dimension requirements specified in a Gazette Notice.
    • Commodity Scheme Permits (MIMS & MEMS). MIMS stands for ‘Mass Import Management Scheme’ and MEMS is the ‘Mass Export Management Scheme’.
    • Mining trailers. This permit category applies to trailers used in mining operations.

HML Permit

HML stands for ‘Higher Mass Limits’. This permit is required for travel on a road outside of the authorised HML routes. To be eligible for HML, the truck must be fitted with certified road-friendly suspension. This helps to minimise the impact on roads surfaces and bridges.

Who Enforces NHVR?

NHVR is enforced by safety and compliance officers working directly for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. These officers carry out heavy vehicle, on-road compliance and enforcement activities under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). State Police and Local Government Inspectors also carry out safety and compliance enforcement.

To exercise powers under the HVNL Enforcement officers must be:

  1. Nominated by participating state and territory road transport authorities
  2. Selected by the NHVR
  3. Given a unique identification number
  4. Carry and produce an approved identity card.

Since police officers are already authorised under the HVNL law the above special requirements do not apply.

Infringement notices may be issued for non-compliance. Similar to fines issued for regular traffic offenses, an infringement notice outlines the details of the offense. The payment amount for offenses eligible for infringement under the HVNL is set at 10% of the maximum penalty that could be imposed by a court. The person receiving the infringement notice may opt to either pay the fine in full or choose to take it to court.

Two National Heavy Vehicle Regulator compliance officers holding paperwork check a large truck.

When and Where Are Inspections Held?

Heavy vehicle inspections are typically held at the following:

Roadside checkpoints

These include weigh stations or designated inspection sites along highways and other main connecting roads.

Freight terminals

Distribution centres or other locations where heavy vehicles are commonly loaded, unloaded or parked for extended periods may be subjected to inspections. Enforcement officers may focus on checking vehicle condition, load security or any other compliance related matters.

Border crossings

Inspections are commonly conducted at border crossings between states or territories to ensure compliance with interstate travel regulations, including mass and dimension limits, vehicle standards and licensing requirements.

Random spot checks

Enforcement officers may conduct random spot checks at various locations and times to target specific compliance issues or to deter non-compliance. These checks may be conducted in collaboration with other law enforcement operations or initiatives.

What Do NHVR Inspections Involve?

During a NHVR safety inspection, the officer will most likely examine driver fatigue, vehicle registration and driver’s licence. The officer may also conduct a mass check to ensure the vehicle is not operating above the legal limits. A detailed mechanical inspection including checking brakes, steering and suspension may also be carried out.

NHVR Mass and Dimensions

The standard approved width limit for a heavy vehicle is 2.5m. This excludes:

    • Rearview mirrors, signaling equipment and lamps mounted on the sides along with reflectors.
    • Devices installed on wheels to prevent skidding, central tyre inflation systems and gauges for measuring tyre pressure (e.g. on Michelin or Bridgestone truck tyres).
    • Permanently fixed webbing-assembly-type devices, such as curtain-side devices, provided that the maximum distance measured across the body including any part of the devices is 2.55m or less.

The permitted height limit for heavy vehicles is 4.3m, with a few notable exceptions:

    • Double decker buses have a maximum height of 4.4m.
    • Vehicles built to carry livestock such as horses, pigs, cattle or sheep. In this case the limit is 4.6m.
    • Vehicles built with at least 2 decks for carrying vehicles also have a height limit of 4.6m.

The length limit depends on the type of vehicle. For a small 2 Axle Ridged Truck the maximum length is 12.5m, but for a BAB Quad Road Train the max length is 53.5m.

NHVR Work and Rest Requirements

Drivers of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle must follow specific maximum work and minimum rest requirements. Parties involved in the supply chain must do whatever they reasonably can to ensure drivers do not go over these limits. You can find specific information about rest breaks and maximum work time here.

NHVAS Accreditation

The National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) recognises operators who have reliable safety management systems in place. Heavy vehicle operators can apply for accreditation under NHVAS modules. These modules include:

    • Mass Management
    • Maintenance Management
    • Fatigue Management (Basic or Advanced).

More information about the NHVAS modules can be found here.

An NHVR compliance officer takes notes on his clipboard.

NHVR Rego Check

Heavy vehicle operators can utilise the Registration Services section on the NHVR Portal to view information about all the vehicles in their registered fleet. This service allows operators to:

    • confirm information logged by transport authorities
    • share updated vehicle details with others in the supply chain
    • ensure rego transfers and changes are accurate
    • estimate registration related expenses.

NHVR Work Diary

The NHVR Work Diary shows a drivers work and rest hours. Completing your work diary correctly and in line with the HVNL is required only if you are driving a Fatigue Regulated Heavy Vehicle and if your destination is over 100km away from your home base. To learn more, download the Driver Work Diary which provides relevant information and examples for guidance.

NHVR Heavy Vehicle Inspection Checklist

This checklist is used for conducting a vehicle inspection that fulfills the criteria of Maintenance Management Standard 4. The inspection must be carried out or overseen by a properly qualified individual, whose name and signature must be recorded on the form. The Heavy Vehicle Inspection Checklist can be found here.

NHVR Load Restraint Guide

In the Load Restraint Guide, the Overview module provides essential load restraint details, such as the necessity of load restraint and legal responsibilities. The module also provides a ten-step framework for a load restraint system (accompanied by a checklist), and a high-level summary of various load restraint techniques. This can all be found on this website.

NHVR Contact Details

If you have further questions or inquires, you can contact the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator here.

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